Additional Publications

PB's Original Books, and Later Compilations, Small Books, and Biography

Instructions for Spiritual Living by Paul Brunton (2019)

"A truly comprehensive and authoritative work that should be read by sincere seekers and advanced adepts alike. Paul Brunton's work demonstrates a real mastery of the intricacies of spiritual life. His sagely conclusions on a number of key topics rarely covered elsewhere in spiritual literature provide an important contribution to our contemporary understanding of awakening and enlightenment....We are very fortunate that his writings are available." —Stephen D'Amico, author of Heaven on Earth and The Incredible State of Absolute Nothingness

No matter where we are in our spiritual development, we all have questions that need clarification about our practice and what we are experiencing—both the challenges and openings. We need trustworthy answers that go deeper than those available in the many general books on the inner life, useful though they may be.

How can I overcome my struggles to meditate more deeply? Is there a need for a guru or can I rely on myself? What kind of inner and outer tests can I expect on the spiritual path? What is the role of discipline or asceticism in the spiritual path—is it necessary or is it a bad idea? Can I trust my intuition? Is the Higher Self in the heart? Is it possible to hear the “Inner Word,” the voice of the soul, and what is the nature of transcendental insight? What does it mean to surrender the ego? How can I best express the spiritual impulse in my life?

Read what other author/teachers have to say about this book.
Listen to interviews about this book with Foundation Board member Jeff Cox here.

Inner Traditions International published this new and very transformed edition of Essays on the Quest (originally published in 1984).

Realizing Soul: From Intuition to an Inspired Life by Paul Brunton (2015)

"Paul Brunton's wisdom is like the child’s voice in the story, ‘The Emperor's New Clothes.’ His observations, spiritual insights, and pointings reveal a laser-sharp eye that directs us back to that which is obvious within ourselves, though obviously overlooked—the Divine Self." —Mooji

This new presentation of Paul Brunton’s acclaimed work features teachings on life’s deepest purpose from—a popular international website where inspiring selections from the encyclopedic The Notebooks of Paul Brunton are presented in 19 languages every day of the year by native speakers. Realizing Soul is an ideal inner guide for people who feel that “there must be something more” as well as for seasoned spiritual practitioners. In addition, a free Realizing Soul Study Guide was created by Robert Larson, PB's Swedish publisher.

Intuition is the often overlooked gentle voice of the Overself. Attending to it is the beginning of surrender to its guiding wisdom and eventuates in glimpses, or temporary shifts of identity from the ego to the Overself. By following the long and short paths described here, eventually the Overself claims its offspring, the ego, and expresses itself through inspired living.

Paul Brunton is widely esteemed for creatively integrating the world’s sacred teachings into a practical, satisfying vision of spiritual life for our times. Major reviewers praise his work as "a rich vein of wisdom," "sensible, deep, and original," that "can stand beside Merton, Huxley, Suzuki, Watts, and Radhakrishnan."

The Short Path to Enlightenment: Instructions for Immediate Awakening (2014)

"Paul Brunton gives voice to the profound teachings of immediate spiritual awakening that have the power to short circuit the seeker in us and reveal the true nature of reality here and now. The true gift of this wonderful book is in how nuanced and subtle Paul Brunton understood these profound and transformational teachings and how directly he conveys them. Read this book as you would a scripture or a sutra and let it open your eyes to eternity." --Adyashanti

"The Short Path to Enlightenment is a deeply supportive text from the extraordinary Paul Brunton, the spiritual explorer who first brought knowledge of Ramana Maharishi to the West. In this work, readers receive the invitation and instruction to discover the truth of oneself. This book is alive with supreme knowledge. May it support you in immediately and continually recognizing yourself." --Gangaji

These accessible teachings distill the essence of currently popular and traditional sudden-awakening teachings (Advaita, Zen, Dzogchen, etc.). Paul Brunton calls them “Short Path” teachings. A simple recognition, a brief moment of grace, can make what seemed like a far-off spiritual goal actual here and now. But we need reliable pointers for when and how and where to look. Brunton delivers the essence and practices of this path in direct, jargon-free language.

    * How to move from the Long Path of spiritual disciplines to the Short Path of direct insight
    * Short Path exercises
    * Experiences that may occur
    * Warnings
    * Stages of realization
    * Stabilizing the awakening
    * The nature of lasting enlightenment

Read reviews including radio and video interviews for: The Short Path to Enlightenment

"The Short Path to Enlightenment was my introduction to this great sage. The passages are so profound that I often lose track of time, just sitting with one of them. Cannot recommend PB's books and practices enough. The website is marvelous as well. Thank you."- Kavitha Chinnaiyan (Facebook reader review)

Essays on the Quest (1984)
This is a collection of fourteen remarkable essays taken from the unpublished writings of PB and published posthumously in this single volume. They are as follows: “The Mystery of Evil,” “The Adventure of Mentalism,” “Karma, The Law of Consequences,” “Is the Soul in the Heart?” “The Interior Word,” “Self-reliance or Discipleship?” “Is the World an Illusion?” “Ascetic Mysticism Reconsidered,” “Insight,” “Cleansing of the Emotions,” “Ethical Qualifications of the Seeker,” “Surrender of the Ego,” “The Probations and Tests of the Aspirant,” and “What Can We Do for Philosophy?”  In large part, these titles reflect the themes and issues with which PB concerned himself in his retirement years—at least so far as the challenges for the quester are concerned. 

While many of these topics are quite familiar to spiritual seekers, the reader will find that PB’s viewpoint sheds new light—or rather, provides a new perspective—on this material.  One often has the experience of reading along, treading the well-worn paths of spiritual disciplinary texts, and then ‘turning a corner’ to discover a new, fresh, rejuvenating (if sometimes a bit uncomfortable) insight into the topic in hand.

Perhaps the most remarkable essay is the last one, “What Can We Do for Philosophy.” While all of these essays are inspiring, (especially the ones on Insight and the Interior Word), this final essay asks a startling question in its title. Here PB makes the point that while spiritual philosophy is the essential teaching for our times, most of humankind is far from ready to fully embody it. A lot of preparatory and introductory work is needed—work that can and must be part of each quester’s own practice, alongside one’s own studies, meditations, and refinement of character.

Inner Traditions International published a new and very transformed edition titled: Instructions for Spiritual Living (2019).

Paul Brunton: A Personal View by Kenneth Thurston Hurst (1989)
Kenneth Hurst is PB’s only son, and this work is a mixture of an autobiography and biography of PB.  As Kenneth rightly says, it is impossible for anyone to write a real biography of a sage, since he is enlightened and we are not.  So Kenneth simply opts to share his own very personal experiences of growing up with PB throughout their many years together as father and son.  Even though Kenneth’s mother remarried when he was only six years old, PB was very much in his life throughout his childhood; in fact, when Kenneth was ten, PB enlisted his ‘help’ in choosing the photographs for A Search in Secret India.

Reading this book, we are given access to the personal life of PB.  The first chapter dramatically sets the stage by offering PB's personal account of his illumination and the nature of the process.  Kenneth quite openly shares their correspondence, conversations, and interactions with each other over the course of PB’s lifetime.  There are gaps in the narrative, as PB sometimes was unavailable to the world, which included Kenneth, as was the case during World War II when PB was ‘stuck’ in India, and Kenneth was still in England.  In fact, they next met in America, where Kenneth emigrated after the war and eventually became a citizen.  Thereafter PB visited him whenever he was stateside, and sometimes they traveled together in Europe or Asia, where they met with various students of PB’s and other serious spiritual seekers.  Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this biography is what is not in it—whatever difficulties PB may have had with various students (or even governments) is little mentioned here.  This is consistent with Kenneth’s own lifelong commitment to the power of positive (and negative) thought.  By the time he wrote this, it was natural for him to take this approach, and, as his tells us in the title, this is his view of PB; others will tell their stories from their viewpoints, which will in turn cast new light upon this remarkable man.

Throughout his life Kenneth was a serious student of his father’s work, so much so that he was instrumental in the formation of the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation after PB’s death.  After recounting this phase of his life, Kenneth tells us of what would turn out to be his own final interview with His Holiness Sri Shankaracarya—fifty years after PB’s first interview with Him in 1935.  Kenneth completes this book by sharing some of the dreams he had after PB died and a brief afterword. 

This is a unique book.  Through Kenneth we are given a glimpse of a sage’s journey over the greater measure of his life, and we are left with a desire to know more of PB and his ideas, to seek within ourselves for our own Overself, and to commence—or continue—our journey home.

Paul Brunton: Essential Readings (Joscelyn Godwin, Paul Cash & Timothy Smith ed.) (1990)
In an effort to bridge the gap between the early writings of PB and the material published in the Notebooks, this volume offers excerpts from both periods of PB’s life.  Part One consists of selections from A Search in Secret Egypt (PB’s night in the Great Pyramid); A Search in Secret India (PB’s interviews with Sri Ramana Maharshi and Sri Shankaracarya); a section from The Quest of the Overself on the Overself in Action; a reflection on the mission of Jesus from The Inner Reality (renamed Discover Yourself); and perhaps the most remarkable of all, the chapter titled "The Birth of the Universe" from The Wisdom of the Overself

Part Two contains seven topics taken from The Notebooks of Paul Brunton.  They are "The Quest," "The Teacher," "From Mysticism to Philosophy," "The Overself," "Grace and the Short Path," "World-Mind and Mind," and "The Sage."  While these latter selections point towards the greater body of work that is the Notebooks, they were specifically chosen to compliment the ideas presented in Part One.  Thus we have the Interviews with Ramana Maharshi and Shankaracarya in Part One, which are complimented by the sections on "The Teacher" and "The Sage" in Part Two.  Similarly the selection from The Quest of the Overself is developed in the chapter “The Overself” in Part Two.

This book is often overlooked in the pantheon of PB’s published works, which is a shame, because it is very helpful in highlighting the central themes of PB’s writings and teachings.  For those unfamiliar with his terms—such as Overself, Mind, and World-Mind—this book is a helpful introduction.  For those seeking a way into PB’s vast literature, reading through this modest-sized (210-page) book will offer adequate samples of the major works of PB, so that one can then choose easily what to read, and even in what order.  Finally, for those who are quite familiar with PB’s writings and views, this book makes an excellent traveling companion, as there are many profound ideas worthy of frequent review, as well as many inspired passages that are simply a joy to read and reread as our own development allows us to see—and even experience—them in a new light.

Inspired Wisdom in Practice: Quotations from Paul Brunton ~ Arthur Broekhuysen (ed.) (1992)

Meditations for People in Charge (1995)
A compilation of PB paras from The Notebooks, this handbook is for those people who touch lives and influence minds.  PB addresses the question of what it means to be “in charge.”  He writes about where to turn for guidance, and he provides inspirational ideas that will carry one through the hardest of times.

This small book is designed to inspire, counsel, and console those who aspire to remain in touch with spiritual strength and personal integrity while facing difficult decisions and daily dilemmas.  It is full of accessible and inspiring wisdom, applying spiritual ideas directly to practical issues of life.

Meditations for People in Crisis (1996)
A compilation of PB paras from The Notebooks, this book is for those facing crisis of any kind—from personal confusion and inner conflict to illness and death.  It also addresses the greater crisis in which we all live: the troubled state of the world.  Condensed from several volumes of material, the pages of this little book provide the reader with insight into the causes of our woes and show the way toward either addressing them or accepting them when they cannot be changed. 

For those who have read The Notebooks, this text provides a refresher course in the salient points; for those new to PB’s writings, it is an excellent starting point, especially if they are indeed in crisis.  PB’s key ideas can and will guide readers to draw on their own inner resources, which are, in the end, the greatest resources and the most powerful tools we have to engage ourselves with all the colors of life.

What is Karma? (1998)
This little book presents, in condensed and concentrated form, what PB learned about karma from a long and richly varied lifetime of personal research, relentless trial and error, and intimate association with wise men and women from sacred traditions throughout the world.  These pithy gems are drawn from a broad span of his writing, ranging from as early as the mid 1940s to shortly before his death in 1981. They concisely present the essence and many of the details of the teachings of karma as they appear throughout the world's wisdom traditions. A Spanish translation of this book was done by Pam-Maria Ochoa and can be read here.

PB says that people who stand for freewill are partly right, and so are those who stand for predetermination; each has something to hear from the other side.  Life is a highly ordered structure of opportunities, some material and others spiritual.  We have no control over the order in which they appear or the time at which they appear, but they are presented to a soul that is free at every moment to choose or refuse the opportunity.  Each choice has consequences, and life never presents exactly the same opportunity again.

A key element of these teachings is that the best way to appeal against the principle of karma isn't through prayer but through changing our thoughts.  The more we alter the general trend of our thinking for the better, the better our outer life will ultimately become.  The choices we make today alter or confirm the direction our life will ultimately go.  Karma, far from imprisoning us, actually guarantees our freedom to determine much of what that will be.

PB also addresses those terrible moments in life when you've dug a hole so deep it seems you'll never get out, when things are so bad it seems there's no turning them around.  In such situations, the inevitable companion to karma arises: grace.  The power of grace and its relationship to karma forms the central chapter of this book—a chapter that will become well-thumbed over time.  In sum, this book is not one of doom and gloom, but of empowerment, rescue, and resurrection of our selves, our lives, and our best hopes for the future.

The Gift of Grace:  Awakening to Its Presence  (2011)
Hope shines brightly in this selection of gems from Paul Brunton's writings on Grace.  Once we penetrate this deep teaching, Grace, with its assurance of growing goodness and light, becomes a certainty.  Based on thorough study, scientific inquiry, intuition, and inner penetration, PB establishes extraordinary revelations about the infinite reality and divine intelligence that supports, guides and inspires this life.  Grace is a beacon of light that never allows us to go irrevocably astray as we run, walk, or crawl our karmic and evolutionary paths.  This small volume presents a taste of PB's profound work on this subject.


Perpetual Calendar:  The Wisdom of Paul Brunton Day by Day
The calendar, also called a “daybook” or “birthday book,” and used to record and remember birthdays and anniversaries year after year, is a handsomely produced 7” by 6” hardcover divided into weeks.  It includes PB quotes beside 52 dazzling photos by Haji Mahmood (Classic Vision Photography), a relatively new student of PB's philosophy, who was actually encouraged to approach the Foundation to initiate such a collaboration by his 86-year-old aunt, who is well-read in and devoted to PB's work.  The calendar is wonderful for both personal use and to give as a gift; it serves as a way for those of us already familiar with PB’s wisdom to apply it to our daily lives as we review the paras selected, and it also serves as a generous way to give the gift of PB’s wisdom to those we love.  And, like all of the publications for sale at our store, the calendar also serves as a fundraiser to further the PB’s vision through the Foundation’s many projects. It was published in 2011 (but never gets old!).


PB’s Early Works

A Search in Secret India (1934) 
This is PB’s most famous and often-read book.  It is indeed a search in India and holds the secret of spiritual seeking for those who would read it carefully.  The text is a modified account of PB’s earliest trips to India, combining his earliest impressions with his later reflections on his experiences there.  PB describes himself here as a spiritual seeker trying to find a teacher and trying to decide if he wants or needs one.  This search is the core of the book, motivating him to travel across the length and breadth of India interviewing known and unknown, named and unnamed yogis, fakirs, and gurus. 

Among the individuals PB describes, two stand out: first the remarkable sageRamana Maharshi, who was regarded by all who met him as an enlightened being and remained free of any controversy throughout his life.  In these pages PB presents an inspiring account of the sage’s life and introduces us to his essential teachings as well.  PB spent a great deal of time with Ramana and is credited with bringing this great Teacher to the attention of Western seekers.  The other individual that PB met was Sri Shankaracarya; here he tells us something of the background and mission of His Holiness and provides us with a record of their earliest interview, which remains poignantly relevant to today’s seekers and today’s world. 

Finally, the most important aspect of this book is its function as the archetypal blueprint of the quest for a spiritual teacher—be it in India, Ohio, or in one’s own heart.  PB presents us with a compendium of all the problems and opportunities such a search must encounter.  These include the issue of dealing with over-eager disciples who may be well-disguised messengers of truth or mere fanatics; the challenge of differentiating the public image of a popular guru from the truth—or falsity—of the man himself; the experience of opportunely meeting a genuine teacher, only to find that he or she is not one’s own teacher; and finally, there is the fundamental battle within oneself as to whether or not to accept a teacher, much less to do this whole spiritual quest thing in the first place!  PB does not present us with pat answers, but he does provide us with ways to approach each of these facets of our search and methods that will leave our independence intact, our aspiration renewed, and our yearning deepened.

The Secret Path (1935)
This is the first of the ten books that PB wrote written and published during his lifetime.  In spite of its small size (125 pages), PB manages to cover a good deal of ground.  He introduces us to his own mystical experiences and his awareness of the teachings and teachers of the East.  Indeed, the book opens with an exquisite (and accurate) description of being in the presence of a sage.  From this mystical opening, he comes quickly back to ‘this old world’ as he calls it—where he begins his presentation of the fundamental teachings and practices of the spiritual quest.

While this is a mystical, lyrical book, it is aimed at those of us limited by time and obligations from fully devoting ourselves to such topics.  Thus his recommendations for meditation, relaxation, the development of intuition, and even awareness of our own higher self, are all couched in the context of ‘the rest of our lives.’  This book is the beginning of PB’s lifelong goal to provide direct, lucid, and viable practices for the active lifestyle of modern urban dwellers.  He did not want to waste people’s time by requiring them to learn the outmoded vocabulary of ancient texts, preferring instead to transform the truths buried there into their essence, stripped of nomenclature and freed from unnecessary ritualistic access.  (This is not to say that PB ignores the need for self-improvement and purification, merely that he suggests we are capable of such undertakings independent of antiquated tradition.) 

Since its writing some seventy-five years ago, the pace of life has increased, and our opportunity for introspection has further diminished—and so this book has become more relevant, more useful over time, and its quiet, objective message is absolutely worth the time it takes to ponder over the message of its pages.

Listen to excerpts from The Secret Path read by Christopher Reeve.

A Search in Secret Egypt (1936; re-issued in deluxe new edition 2007)
Brunton’s amazing narrative tells us of his deep meditations at the feet of the Sphinx, his eerie and illuminating night alone in the Great Pyramid, and his insight into the Osiris myth.  Alongside his explorations of ancient Egypt’s monuments and gods, Brunton encounters a variety of remarkable people. He searches out—and finds—a variety of hypnotists, magicians, mystics--and even manages to become initiated into the deadly art of snake charming!  While the reader will very likely be startled by some of the unusual (or conservative) elements of this book, Brunton himself was neither enamored of the occult, nor constrained by the academic; at the same time, he did not eschew the company of either.  His main intent was to introduce the panorama of viewpoints that exist in Egypt and that swirl around the central mystery of the mind-body relationship. He sought to clarify what the mind and body are capable of and to distinguish various forms of yoga and magic from true spirituality.

His frank interview with the then head of Islam proves relevant today, and his descriptions of the Hajj remind us of the beauty and inspiring faith of Mohammed’s true followers.

In the end, Brunton turns his attention to his own spiritual journey, connecting all of his experiences into a single discovery: that we are more than the body and that the freedom of our spirit can be experienced here and now even as it has ever been.  As he sifts through the myths and icons of that extraordinary time, he returns again and again to the myth of Osiris and to the mystery that is the Sphinx itself. The myth of Osiris teaches us that we are immortal, both now and in the hereafter, and that it is possible, albeit difficult, to directly experience this immortality for ourselves. And the mystery of the Sphinx is also Her wisdom—the mystery of eternal Truth realized.

A Search in Secret Egypt (1936; new edition 2015)
In A Search in Secret Egypt, Paul Brunton experiences the mysteries and magic of Egypt in the 1930s. He explores Egypt's mysticism, temples, and gods for their spiritual significance—including an illuminating and eerie night alone inside the Great Pyramid. Brunton seeks to plumb the furthest reaches of which the mind and body are capable, and to distinguish various forms of yoga and magic—and how they differ from true spirituality, a spirituality that in ancient Egypt was dramatically encountered in the initiation rites performed in its temples for qualified aspirants.

Along the way, Brunton meets a variety of occultists, fakirs, dervishes and an adept, and even manages to become initiated into the deadly art of snake charming. His frank interviews with Muslim leaders are relevant today, and his description of the Hajj reflects the beauty and inspiring faith of Muhammad's true followers.

In the end, Brunton turns his attention to his own spiritual path, connecting all of his experiences in the discovery that we are more than the body and that the freedom of our spirit can be experienced here and now.

This new, updated edition includes additional images from PB's collection, other illustrations and maps, as well as the text corrections that PB gave us at the end of his life.

A Message from Arunachala (1936)
This book, written only two years after A Search in Secret India, shows several changes in PB’s writing, and is a “prequel” to The Notebooks of Paul Brunton, for here we discover his natural writing style—a style he called ‘paras,’  which are short paragraphs or sometimes a simple sentence containing a single point or intuition, written down as they came to him in the course of his daily life.  Here he speaks for Mount Arunachala as well as for himself, even as so many other mystics have used the metaphor of a mountain to express something of their journey and their vision.  That he has chosen this austere mountain long associated with yogic asceticism and more recently the famed home of Sri Ramana Maharshi is fair warning for the message to come.

PB moves back and forth between critical analysis and mystical reverence throughout this book.  Some chapters—“The Hill” and “Solitude and Leisure,” for example—are uplifting reflections on the fruits of the inner life.  Other chapters, like those on Politics, Business, and Society, are sharp criticisms of life in the modern world.  While these criticisms are indeed harsh, they are nonetheless true.  If we are made uncomfortable (or even irritated) by these words, we should consider them all the more seriously, if we ourselves mean to be serious about our mystical pursuits, for PB is writing from that viewpoint here—the viewpoint of the meditator, withdrawn from the world, seeing it as though from atop a sacred mountain, where one must abide betimes, until the fulfillment of that practice sends one down into the world again. 

And, like him, if we are to find ourselves, our whole selves, we must at some point climb that austere mountain and unconditionally listen to its complete message.  When at last we do so, we shall find that a link has been formed between ourselves and that “inner mountain,” a link from which peace will flow into our lives for the remainder of our days.

A Hermit in the Himalayas (1936)
Often overlooked, this is the third of PB’s narrative books, following upon the heels of his two Searches.  It is the most lyrical, mystical, and personal of all his published writings.  It provides a way-station between the first phase of PB’s writings, which are largely introductory, and his subsequent, more intellectual phase, which culminates in The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga and The Wisdom of the Overself—whose necessary dryness and rigor will require us to have our wits and energy about us.  Before we essay that task, we are invited to retreat a while, and plumb the depths of our own hearts with Nature as our guide and companion.  For it is here that we find PB’s record of his own journey into his Overself, a journey that is mirrored by his trek into the high Himalayas, his isolation there, and his reflections on the world below. 

Scattered amongst the anecdotes of his travels and visitors, are mini-essays in which PB examines the (then current) events of the outer world and extracts their lessons to the philosopher.  While the events themselves are long gone, their ilk (war, politics, fame, and infamy) are still well within our kin.  For example, one chapter is titled “On Philosophy and Fun—Reflections on Mr. Charles Chaplin—His Silent Art and Genius;” and while Mr. Chaplin is no more, his is an ever recurring role in our popular consciousness.  Such is PB’s skill as an author that we find his observations of these events and personalities fresh and useful today.

Alongside these retrospective musings, PB has a few encounters with various visitors to his high camp, bringing with them interesting interludes of spiritual conversation and anecdotes of their own adventures.  Even so, this book is rather more about Nature than Humankind.  He befriends a fly, studies meditation from an ancient tree, and confronts a hunting panther, all with equal curiosity and poise.  His descriptions of the surrounding mountains and their denizens is at once inspired and inspiring—inspiring us to seek our own communion with Nature and perhaps essay a trek into her hidden, sacred places.  Like the Chinese Mountain Sage Han Shan, PB focuses on the ordinary things of life, and, as the outer world diminishes in its importance, takes us a little ways within ourselves, even as he withdraws deeper and deeper into himself.

The Quest of the Overself (1937)
The Quest of the Overself explicates meditation practices and mental exercises for the Western reader, defines the Overself, and outlines a specific approach to the spiritual quest.  At the outset PB explains that he has chosen the term Overself to refer to our soul, our higher self.  Unfortunately, these more familiar terms are inevitably colored by religion and our own unexamined belief that we know what to what they are referring.  PB tells us that he has conjured this new term because he wants us to start afresh, to really want to ask the question, “What exactly is this deeper 'I' within me?”  He provides the reader with methods to answer this question, as well as to achieve serenity of mind and control of thought and to experience the rewards of meditation.

The book is divided into two Parts: “The Analyses” and “The Practices.”  In Part One, PB analyzes the physical, emotional, and intellectual self, focusing on the spiritual development that can take place with each.  This section is a thorough and accurate expansion of Sri Ramana Maharshi’s “Who Am I?” exercise, and if put into practice, it will provide the seeker with the direct mystical experience of the “answer” to this enquiry.

In Part Two, PB balances the effort of enquiry with that of developing the very phases of our identity from which we aim to become detached.  This second phase is the crucial difference between mysticism and philosophy, between those who seek spiritual development for themselves alone and those who are preparing to share the fruit of their labors with the greater (and less fortunate) population of humankind.  To this end PB provides instruction for emotional refinement, mental mastery, the path of self-inquiry, and addresses mysteries of the breath, eye, heart, and Overself.  The final chapters describe the extraordinary power and presence of the Overself, its practical guidance, and its sacred residence within our hearts.  In later years, PB said that one could discover and maintain an awareness of the Overself through reliance on the techniques incorporated in this book alone—although he also said that this was only the true beginning of the quest, a quest which would and should last lifetimes.

The Inner Reality / aka Discover Yourself (1939; new edition 2016)
Published after PB’s very popular Search books—A Search in Secret India and A Search in Secret Egypt—PB moves away from narrative form and presents many of his ideas about spirituality more directly.

PB sets the stage and prepares the reader for the inner journey, beginning with “What Is God?” (excerpted on publisher's website) where he examines both the spiritual and the scientific response to this question. He emphasizes the need to incorporate all forms of wisdom—past and present, rational and mystical—if we are to evolve a complete philosophy.

He illuminates the central teachings of Christianity and Hinduism, offering deep insights into the mystical teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of John, and the Bhagavad Gita.  He addresses the central questions of those who look to such doctrines as the Bible and the Gita for guidance, explaining their essentials and elevating them for a modern audience. PB brings his experience to bear on the usefulness of asceticism, monasticism, and other questions concerning life style, ethics, and errors that spiritual seekers commonly make. He also explores the mysteries surrounding the life of Jesus. Throughout his inquiries he seeks to penetrate to the truth behind the words and images of these very famous and revered texts.

The sixth chapter of this book presents one of the clearest, most helpful descriptions of the importance of pursuing the practice of meditation.  PB provides clear instructions and advice on how to begin meditating, styled especially for those with limited time for such pursuits. All in all, this book enriches our understanding of two great spiritual traditions, inviting us to benefit from their wisdom, regardless of our own religious affiliation, and encouraging us to put their words into our daily practices.

Listen to excerpts from Discover Yourself read by Christopher Reeve. In addition, a free study guide to The Inner Reality was created by Anna Bornstein and PB.

The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (1941; new edition 2015)
“Paul Brunton…has sought to throw a bridge across the chasm which separates yoga and pure ancient philosophy for searchers in the West.”—Dallas Times-Herald

Inspired by his time spent with sages in Asia in the 1930s, Paul Brunton wrote The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (volume 1) and its companion volume The Wisdom of the Overself (volume 2) to fulfill the request of these remarkable teachers who recognized that Brunton had a significant role to play in the transmission of traditional wisdom to the West. Here is a profound re-creation of these teachings, brought to life and made accessible by the brilliance of Brunton's insights. Clearly written, the books speak directly to the contemporary spiritual seeker.

The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga is a step-by-step guide to realizing the fact that our experienced world is not material but composed entirely of consciousness. Brunton's expert analysis of perception, grounded in science, is designed to awaken us to our sacred foundation and to transform our personality into a mirror of that reality. He prepares us for this journey by describing the attitudes, mental disciplines, and character traits that are essential for success in this quest.

This new edition (2015) has been updated to incorporate the author's final revisions. It includes a new introduction plus supplementary reading material selected from the author's archives by the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.

Here is an excerpt posted on the publishers' website where PB explains the significance of expanding the inquiry "Who am I?" into "What am I?"

Paul Brunton (1898-1981) is generally recognized as having introduced yoga and meditation to the West. His writings are among the most popular and authoritative sources of information on Eastern philosophies and meditation systems.

“… goes to the very roots of the mysteries of Yoga and the mysteries of modern materialistic sciences.”—New Book Digest

The Wisdom of the Overself (1943; new edition 2015)
“A person of rare intelligence... thoroughly alive, and whole in the most significant, 'holy' sense of the word.” —Yoga Journal

This masterwork was inspired by Paul Brunton's years spent with sages in Asia. He wrote The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga and its companion volume The Wisdom of the Overself to fulfill the request of these remarkable teachers who recognized that he had a significant role to play in the transmission of traditional wisdom to the West. Here is a profound re-creation of these teachings, brought to life and made accessible by Brunton's insights. In print since the 1940s, they are considered to be among the most comprehensive, clear, and practical guides on the path to enlightenment.

In this volume, Brunton unfolds the grand vision for human development through an exploration of:
*Consciousness as the source of all experience
*Workings of karma and destiny, free will and grace
*Individuality and witness consciousness
*Lessons and mystic potentials of dream and deep sleep
*The passage through death to the next life
*Nature and lessons of evil and suffering
*The Overself and the Mind of the World

He also provides seven ultramystic exercises, including a healing meditation on the sun for self and others, a meditation on the timeless self, and practices utilizing past and future as well as dream and sleep. These techniques lead to the deepest spiritual realizations, to the true “Wisdom of the Overself.”

This new edition (2015) has been updated to incorporate the author's final revisions. It includes a new foreword plus supplementary reading material selected from the author's archives by the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.

Paul Brunton (1898-1981) is generally recognized as having introduced yoga and meditation to the West. His writings are among the most popular and authoritative sources of information on Eastern philosophies and meditation systems.

Humanity's Spiritual Crisis (originally titled: The Spiritual Crisis of Man, 1952)
PB’s last published book shows how to apply spirituality to our life and times. While this is neither a new problem nor unique to PB, his no-nonsense approach is a significant contribution to this challenge. At times challenging us, PB makes it crystal-clear that we must engage in spiritual practices if the world is going to change. He further emphasizes that such engagement with practice must go beyond the intermittent efforts so common among seekers—we need to integrate it fully into our lives. 

PB applies an equally critical eye toward the newest religion of all—Science—and its reckless pursuit of advancing technology without regard for the moral and environmental consequences of its ambition. These things have come to pass in our world today, and this book’s message is all the more powerful and relevant in its potent, if discomforting, remedies for these ills. He complements this topic with an impersonal look at the ego, which is the dark foundation upon which these destructive impulses of science, society, and ourselves is built. PB’s writings on the ego here and in Volume 6 of The Notebooks are among his most original contributions to modern spiritual philosophy, and the effort to understand these teachings is a significant step in undermining the ego’s tyranny of our lives, minds, and hearts. 

After this insightful ego examination, PB does an about-face, not unlike that required by the Short Path, and turns his attention toward the Divine, the mystic, and our own already-present resources. It is as important to recognize—and to realize—the sacred presence now brought into focus as it was to acknowledge the works of our own ego. And so this is a book for seekers who are ready to rely on their inner resources to guide and balance themselves in preparation for Overself realization.

The Spiritual Crisis of Man is available to read on this website. It is also available as an eBook on Amazon and others here.

Read an excerpt published in: Light of Consciousness magazine.